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First a disclaimer: I am always disappointed and suspicious of things which proclaim that they will change your life or make you believe in God. Mitch Albom books are particularly bad offenders. The Life of Pi is another example, although it survived by not actually trying to make me believe in God like it promised. Or if it did, it was very subtle and failed completely.

So I am not putting this here to be preachy. I won’t even go as far as saying that I try to live by these ideas, though they might be suited as life-guiding principles. But it might be nice. And if anybody asks me what sorts of things I believe, these are going to be the sorts of things that come up.

For the purposes of this list, these are strictly philosophies, ideas, or even just statements that I have blown out of proportion, of others. That is, you could go read up on them on your own if you want. My own ideas show up elsewhere in various forms.

  1. You cannot leave the magic (The Trash Heap’s final words, from the 1980′s children’s television show Fraggle Rock) — No, I do not believe in the supernatural, spiritual, etc. I am a scientist. But that doesn’t mean I’m completely void of any kind of wonder when I look at the universe. Why else would I study cosmology? To say that you cannot leave the magic, to me, means that everybody and everything which exists has a connection. Even if just by virtue of the face that we are here, we have something in common. (2009.02.26)
  2. The map is not the territory (Alfred Korzybski) — I like to keep things simple, sure, but one must realise that any sort of model or description always falls sort of the thing it describes. I don’t know much about the context of Korzybski’s comment, but it is useful to keep in mind. The mathematical models we use to describe the universe are not the universe. The story our friend tells us about something someone said is not the same as having heard them say it. (2009.02.26)
  3. “Clinging to privacy at all costs is the worst thing we can do” (Robert J Sawyer) — No doubt one of the most controversial thing I believe in. I think a lot of what Sawyer says in this article should be taken seriously. What is privacy really for? I think the possible answers tend to be along the lines of crime, masturbating, and surprise parties, and the latter two are not the ones at risk by giving up privacy in the way Sawyer suggests. (2009.02.26)
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